Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Prevent nuclear terrorism

By Li Hong (China Daily) Updated: 2012-03-23 08:06

The upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on March 26-27 will further discuss global cooperation in preventing nuclear terrorism. Although no nuclear terrorist attack has been reported so far, nuclear and radioactive materials and related technologies are widely used and the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack does exist.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there have been a total of 2,164 incidents involving the loss, theft or unauthorized possession of nuclear and radioactive materials from 1993 to 2011, and the Fukuyama nuclear crisis in Japan has demonstrated that an attack on the diesel-driven emergency power supply system, fuel rods and other key parts of a nuclear power plant could trigger a nuclear disaster.

The international community has made great efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1540 in 2004 to prohibit any non-state actor acquiring or manufacturing weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons. Resolution 1887 was adopted at a summit in 2009 on nuclear non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament aimed at strengthening the implementation of resolution 1540. It urged all countries to ensure the security of especially vulnerable nuclear weapons materials to prevent nuclear terrorism.

At the first Nuclear Security Summit in 2010, global leaders reached a consensus on the seriousness of the threat of nuclear terrorism and the necessity of working together to reduce such threats and produce a detailed work plan to counter the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.

Nuclear security has received greater attention since the summit, which led to strengthened international cooperation and greater efforts at nuclear security. For instance, Ukraine was one of the countries to pledge to remove highly enriched uranium from its territory, and the United States, China and other countries have expanded cooperation in converting reactors to the use of low-enriched uranium rather than highly enriched fuel.

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